26.4.2009 Older brother Lukas scores 6th place here at World Cup Round 2, two spots better than round 1, and Mathias comes back from a difficult start to finish 21st (2nd in under 23 category). Unfortunately Liam Killeen was unable to start due to a back injury. Liam is currently receiving treatment and while this is frustrating for the British XC star, he's in good hands at British Cycling.
The sun shone down in Offenburg today, as a crowd of more than 20,000 visited the German city which played host to the UCI World Cup for the 3rd year. Trek World Racing had their team van on site which has recently been outfitted with state of the art JBL audio equipment and the system filled the tech area with music all weekend. Despite Liam being a non-starter this weekend, spirits were high with the Flueckiger brothers on the 1st and 2nd row of what turned out to be a total of 220 starters.
Lukas lead out of the start loop and continued to be at the head of the race until lap 2 of 7, when Julien Absolon made a break that was never challenged, allowing the Frenchman a convincing win on a track he loves. The race for the minor places was where the interest lay as many riders came and went from the chasing groups. At one point Lukas was as high as 2nd, but spent most of his race in the 5-8th places. A tactical error to chase down 2nd and 3rd mid race may have cost Lukas some energy in the last 3 laps, but overall, it was a solid race.
Mathias struggled a little today with the start but at one point was within 20 seconds of the lead group of 10, but then the pace took its toll as well as the big drop offs on the course which affected his seat post. In the end he finished 21st which was enough for 2nd in the Under 23 category. Mathias maintains his ranking in the overall at 10th, while Lukas moves up to 6th. Trek World Racing is currently ranked 4th in the team’s classification.
Lukas said: "If someone had said to me before this race that I would finished with a 6th place, I would have been pretty happy, but after racing today, and knowing what opportunities there were for me to get top 5 that slipped from my hands, well I'm just a bit disappointed. I had the legs today for sure, but I needed to ride with my head more. After lap 3 I was about 15 seconds behind Sauser and Stander, and I made this time up in just half a lap. It was too much too quickly and I blew up. I should have made up that gap a little more steadily. Next week I will ride with my head a bit more."
Mathias: "The start here in Offenburg is always tricky, there are so many riders and it's a flat and fast start loop which doesn't suit me very well. I lost quite a few places and spent the next two laps going past riders that started fast but went nowhere. I was then just 20 seconds off the lead group of 10 and then I tried to settle down, but the early chasing had left me a bit drained. I had to stop and get my seat post attended to, but in the end I came back from outside the top 30 to take 21st position. It was cool to be 2nd in the Under 23 category again."
A video release of the event will be post on the team web site by mid next week:
Next weekend sees the 3rd round of the XC World Cup taking place in the classic venue of Houffalize, Belgium.
1. Julien Absolon (FRA) – 1h 49m 26secs
2. Wolfram Kurschat (GER) - +1m 09secs
3. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) - +1m 24secs
4. Burry Stander (RSA) - +1m 32secs
5. Ralph Naef (SUI) - +1m 54secs
6. Lukas Flueckiger (Trek World Racing) - +2m 13secs
21. Mathias Flueckiger (Trek World Racing) - +2m 19secs
1. Julien Absolon (FRA) – 450pts
2. Wolfram Kurschat (GER) – 340 pts
3. Burry Stander (RSA) – 310 pts
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) – 280 pts
5. Jose Hermida (ESP) – 250 pts
6. Lukas Flueckiger (Trek World Racing ) – 240 pts
10. Mathias Flueckiger (Trek World Racing) – 159 pts
1. Multivan Merida Biking Team – 131 pts
2. Orbea – 110 pts
3. Specialized Factory Racing – 100 pts
4. Trek World Racing – 91 pts
5. Cannondale Factory Racing – 90 pts